Monday, January 4, 2010

Still Here Part 2

I had mentioned that my mom had promised to buy a tombstone for Joe's grave, since I couldn't afford one. It has been 23 years and she has yet to follow up on that promise, or to even acknowledge that she actually promised that. Instead, I misunderstood again!!!

A few years ago, a friend of ours had a son who was killed in a freak accident while repairing his car. It actually fell on top of him and he never made it. I was sitting at my mom's kitchen table and she said she didn't know what to say to our friend. I advised her not to tell her that it was for the best, or that she understood, or that he was in a better place. Those were all things said to me and they were hollow, empty words that only make you feel that no one really cares.

I told her instead to allow our friend to talk about her son if she wanted to and remember the good times they had together and to just listen. I told her that it was difficult for me when Joey died because no one wanted to talk about him at all and it made me feel as if they would rather just forget he ever existed and that hurt more! I told her that as a parent, we are never prepared to bury our children, we are geared to understand that they would bury us and they would live on.

My mother leaned over the table and said I couldn't possibly understand what our friend was going through because I had only known my son for 5 weeks and our friend had known her son for more than 25 years. I sat silent for a moment and actually opened my mouth to explain that it doesn't matter how long you have "known" your child, it still hurts to bury him in the ground. I told her that after you carry a child in you for all those months, they are a part of you that never disappears and that at least our friend had gotten a chance to know her son and have grandchildren by him. She had been able to watch him graduate, get married and become a father. Those were things I never would be able to do with Joey.

She shrugged her shoulders and acted like I was crazy. She never apologized or acknowledged that I could have serious feelings about a child who was "only 5 weeks old" when he died.

In the years following Joey's death, she has put me down for allowing my children to talk about him or to even bring up his name. She refused to allow anyone in the family to know of his existence for months after he died because she was afraid she would have to explain why she never told them I was pregnant in the first place.

She still does not understand or accept the fact that Joey was and is my son and his memory is still in my heart and in my head. I still have pictures of him and still talk about him, and on certain days, I mourn for what might have been.

When my youngest son got married the day before what would have been Joey's 18th birthday I wished I could see him graduate and get married. On the anniversary of his 21st birthday, I wondered what he would have chosen to do for a living. It never goes away....sometimes it is just easier to deal with than others. This year was hard because of all the other issues in our lives that I was having to deal with. It meant my emotions were running much higher than normal. I never really felt like it was Christmas this year.

I try to avoid my mom these days, and just found out that she and her ex-husband/boyfriend are moving in with my oldest son next week....a situation I am not looking forward to dealing with, but I will do it as always.

I am still having trouble forgetting what she has done to me and still have many issues that I know will trouble me later with her moving here, but I pray that I can deal with each one individually and let it go as I recall all that upsets me about it.

My hope is that one day, I will be able to look at her with love and respect instead of fear and dread. Not sure when that day will be, but I am looking forward to it. As my daughter-in-law says, I need to stop listening to my mom's voice inside my head and remember that she isn't right about all that she has said about me. I am worthy of love, respect and honesty. It is not my fault that she has her illness and it is not my fault she refuses to take the meds provided by her doctors. It is my fault that I allow her to have power over me and I need to take that back for myself.

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